How Books Saved My Life
By most odds, I shouldn’t have been able to achieve much, let alone survive. My childhood was a battlefield that tried to destroy me. There were many enemies—mental illness, domestic violence, and poverty. From childhood into my teens in Chicago, we were so poor that my mother, younger brother and I were homeless for a while. And when we did finally find an apartment, I was relentlessly persecuted by my fears of what life held for me. I lived each moment fearful if we’d be able to pay the rent, or if we’d have milk to drink the next day.
Thank goodness for libraries! I believe books saved my life. They gave me hope. They shared with me stories of other peoples’ lives and how they overcame adversity. I started to believe maybe I had a chance to live differently. I’d stay up all night getting lost in my reading. I read a range of books by such authors as Phyllis Whitney, Agatha Christie, Gertrude Chandler Warner, and Louisa May Alcott.
Action and sci-fi movies, like books, transported me into new places—and I so much wanted to be anywhere other than where I was. I fantasized a lot about being a female James Bond, a strong woman who outwits the enemy and travels the world.
As damaged as my psyche was, instead of letting my childhood be a negative burden, I clung to the inspiring stories in the books that got me through my childhood and teens, and put the pedal-to-the-metal with a single-minded positive focus. I had an intense career where I was able to break through the glass ceiling, engage in discussions on national and international issues, and travel around the world.
One of the great aspects about being an author is that you can share your life’s exciting adventures with readers. In my international thriller, The Child Riddler, my main character, Zoe, is a globe-trotting operative, who travels to some of the fascinating countries I’ve visited in my career. And, I am able to create a character from my fantasy. Like the readers, I get to go on that thrilling ride of discovering what it means to be a female James Bond.
But mostly as a writer, I want to celebrate strong women, because I know how hard it is to be one. I experienced how my mother suffered raising us as a single-parent on her lower wages and all that she went through.
I write too in hopes that other women can take heart from my story and know that they are strong.
THE CHILD RIDDLER
Despite the angry scars she carries from her childhood training, Zoe Lorel has reached a good place in her life. She has her dream job as an elite operative in an international spy agency and found her true love. Her world is mostly perfect—until she is sent to abduct a nine-year-old girl. The girl is the only one who knows the riddle that holds the code to unleash the most lethal weapon on earth—the first ever “invisibility” nanoweapon, a cloaking spider bot.
Zoe’s agency is not the only one after the child. China developed the cloaking bot and will stop at nothing to keep its code secret. While China rapidly hones in on Zoe, her threats grow. Enemies in Austria and Bulgaria reveal the invisibility weapon’s existence to underground arms dealers—now every government and terrorist organization in the world want the nanobot.
From Malta to the Italian Alps to England, Zoe races to save not only the child she has grown to care about, but also herself. Her drug addiction is threatening her engagement to the one person who brings her happiness, yet she needs the agency prescribed pills. They transform her into the icy killer she must be to survive. Can she still be ruthless without the chemicals that suppress her emotions?
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Angela Greenman is an internationally recognized communications professional. She has been an expert and lecturer with the International Atomic Energy Agency for over a decade, a spokesperson for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and a press officer for the Chicago Commission on Human Relations, the City’s civil rights department. After traveling to twenty-one countries for work and pleasure, Angela decided to seriously pursue her love of writing. She is a member of the International Thriller Writer’s Debut Authors program.
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7 thoughts on “Guest Blogger ~ Angela Greenman”
Thank you so much! I do think the one blessing that came from my rough childhood was strength and the ability to put things into perspective. These two things helped me remove the glass ceiling as an obstacle professionally. Thank you again.
Thank you for being a guest with us. You story is that of so many people who used and still use reading and books to take them away from a world or existence they don’t like. Your book sounds like a good read. I’m partial to strong female protagonists.
Thank you Paty for having me! It is an honor to share my story with The Ladies of Mystery. If you read The Child Riddler, I hope you enjoy it. Thanks again.
Angela, I so respect what you’ve gone through and on many levels, can relate to it. My mother was also a single parent, struggling to keep it together and put food on the table for her and her two kids. My mother was clever and charming but in a lot of ways, unprepared for the world’s demands once she met them head-on. And there weren’t a lot of opportunities for women back in the 50s and 60s. Certainly not like today. I have learned two things: Focus on what you CAN do not on what you CAN’T do. It will become a habit. Second, education is the key to an independent, successful life. In both those things, books play a major part. I, too, could not have survived without my local library, a haven, a resource, a Godsend.
Heather, thank you so much for your comment. You are so right in all that you said. It was a teacher that pulled me aside when I was failing grammar school (because of all that I was going through) and offered me a chance to pass on to the next grade if I would write extra credit book reports. I did and passed. This compassionate gesture by the teacher turned my life around. I discovered through reading that I was not alone. Others went through trials. I found hope. I learned through the stories that you can overcome and succeed. Plus I discovered I loved to read and write about the stories. So yes, teachers and educators are key to giving us the chance for an independent and successful life. Thanks again.
I so admire powerful women…todays LOM story is surely one of them.
Thank you so much! I appreciate it. I do think the one blessing that came from my rough childhood was strength and the ability to put things into perspective. These two things helped me remove the glass ceiling as an obstacle professionally. Thanks again.
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